Crediton Ploughing Match

Exeter Flying Post 1st Nov 1838

The Fourth Annual Ploughing Match took place on Thursday 25th inst. in a beautiful field, called Hallacombe Plain, belonging to Mr. Daniel Tremlett, and a spot more admirably adapted for such a purpose could not have been selected. The proceedings excited the greatest interest, and the ground was visited during the morning by many of the principal gentlemen and ladies of the town and
neighbourhood. Soon after ten o’clock, nineteen ploughs started. The judges were Mr Wm. Reynolds, brother to Mr. Thomas Reynolds of Uton; Mr. Wm. May, Shobrooke, and Mr. William Comer of Newton St. Cyres. The competition was exceedingly spirited, and the work, which was very good indeed, being finished; the company, consisting of about 120, sat down in the spacious room in the market place, to an excellent dinner, provided by mine host of the Angel Inn. The chair was most admirably filled by John Sillifant jun., Esq., of Coombe; and the Vice-Presidents were Messrs. Rd. Browne, S. Wreford and H. Matthews. Among the company were Sir H. P. Davie, J. W. Buller, Esq.. Rev. John Manley, Rev. C. Owen, Thomas Hugo, Esq., and T. Pring, Esq., J.G. Smith, Esq., W. Ward, Esq., E.T Ward, Esq., W. Wreford, Esq., J. Wreford, Esq., W. Langdon, Esq., and Messrs. Edwards, Vowler, Webber, Hall, &c. &c. Grace was said by the Rev. J. Manley. 

The cloth having been removed, The Chairman gave “The Queen,” which was received with due honors – the musical gentlemen (Messrs Hayes, Carpenter, Bolt, and Chapple) singing the National Anthem in very excellent style – the company joining chorus with great enthusiasm. 

The next toast The Chairman proposed was “The Queen Dowager and the rest of the Royal Family.” The Chairman next proposed “The Clergy,” which was acknowledged by the Rev. J. Manley.

The Chairman: Gentlemen, the next toast which I beg to propose is one which I am sure will be received by all present with heart and hand. I feel most deeply that while the law inflicts severe punishment on delinquent criminals, it should be the object of every individual to foster those societies which tended to repress crime – the great object of this society is one of that description, inasmuch as it showed itself ready to reward those who were industrious. I am one of those, gentlemen, who believe that agriculture is the foundation of all other interests in this country; without agriculture we can do nothing. Therefore I give you with pleasure “Success to the Crediton Ploughing Match – may it last long and increase in prosperity from year to year.” Drank with great applause.

Glee – “How merrily we live.”

The Chairman: The next toast I shall propose is one that relates to a subject which I have watched from its infancy, and which has given rise to the society, whose interests we are now assembled to promote – I mean the Devon Agricultural Society (Cheers) - I might say that the difficulty in speaking on this subject is not so much to find arguments for such institutions, but against them: I
can scarcely believe any objection can be found. Societies such as these are calculated to encourage Industry and to promote the skill and intelligence of the agricultural labourer. I do rejoice to name the Devon Agricultural Society – (cheers) – for it has given birth to kindred associations in every part of this county. – (Cheers.) – I hope the many fine children she has brought up will not leave her in the lurch. – (Applause.) – Gentlemen, there is one thing we have to guard against, and that is party spirit – (Tremendous applause.) – I therefore hope you will support and drink “Success to the Devon Agricultural Society - drank with all honours.

Glee “Wine gives the lover vigour.” 

The Chairman: “The toast I am about to propose is one which I do with the greatest of pleasure, it is our common and national interests combined, that of Agriculture, Commerce, and Trade. I will therefore ask you to drink “Agriculture, Commerce and Trade – may they flourish together in peace and harmony” – drank with enthusiasm. Isaac Davy Esq., of Fordton, was called on to return thanks, and received with great applause. He said, “gentleman it is not for want of inclination I did not rise to respond to the toast proposed by the hon. chairman, but because I have gone over the subject so many times in the presence of gentlemen now here, I do feel gratified and pleased at the manner in which the chairman has put this toast. For it is the true interest of the country that they should go together not only in word but in deed. – (Cheers.) At this part of the proceedings the successful candidates for ploughing were called in, and the prizes were awarded as follows, to the men:-

  £ s d

To John Parr, ploughman to Mr. Harris,…………………

2  0 0

To James Tanner, ditto to Mr. M. Brook,………………..

1 10 0

To Samual Bicknell, ditto to Mr. S. Hall,…………………

1  5 0

To John Case, ditto to Mr. D. Tremlett,…………………..

1  0 0

To James Bishop, ditto to Mr. Lamacraft,…………………

0 10 0

To Samual Homeyard, ditto to Mr. Jas. Brookes,…………

For Young Men under 21 years of age:-      

To J. Barridge, ploughboy to Mr. R. Browne,…………

1  0 0

To W. Morrish, ditto to Mr. Lane,………………………

0 15 0

To Charles Bishop, ditto to Mr. Ewings,……………….

0 10 0

To Jos. Merrifield, ditto to Mr. S. Hall,…………………

0  7 6
To Charles Dolling, ditto to Mr. Davy,……………… 0  5 0

The Chairman then addressed them and said: I am exceedingly happy to see you standing here before this meeting; and in knowing that you are the successful candidates for the respective prizes you have earned; we are all neighbours and friends together – I can assure you that those who employ you as well as those who live near you, only wish to increase the happiness and welfare of the labourer by honest industry, and do every thing in their power to give that encouragement which you deserve. – (Applause) – I never have felt a greater pleasure that on the present occasion, knowing every one of you – some of you being my nearest neighbours, in being made the humble instrument, through whose hands the prizes must come to you, and I hope that the testimonials I have this day to present to you will be an encouragement to your children to follow your example. And you my lad (addressing a boy about 15 years of age, who had won the first prize, in the second class, and whose work ranked almost the best in the field) have found that it is not always the biggest man who is the best, and I hope you will continue to go on in the same manner, and make not only an excellent workman, but a honest and happy man.

The Chairman then proposed the health of Mr. Tremlet, who had kindly lent the field for the occasion, which being well received and acknowledged by him; the health of those gentlemen who had so kindly given their services on the present occasion, “The Judges of the day,” was then given, and was very well received, and acknowledged by Mr. W. Reynolds, in a very neat speech. This was followed by “The Committee of Management,” acknowledged by Mr. W. Ward.

Glee: “Hail! smiling morn.”

The Chairman then proposed the health of that excellent individual, Mr. Buller, who may (to use the words of the worthy baronet, Sir H. P. Davie,) truly be termed the Farmer’s Friend, which was received amid loud cheers, and with a most hearty welcome, and was responded to by Mr. Buller, in a most eloquent and feeling manner. We much regret our space will not allow us to furnish our readers with this speech. 

The Chairman then requested that the beautiful Glee, “Hail, smiling morn,” might be again sung; after which he proposed, amidst long continued cheering, the health of that worthy individual who is ever first and foremost in advocating everything which tends to the welfare of the poor around him, Sir H. P. Davie; this was drunk with the most flattering marks of affectionate esteem, followed by
the musical hips, and was duly acknowleged. 

Mr. G. Chapple, in his usual good style, then favoured the company with the song of “The fine old English gentlemen.” Mr. Buller then proposed the health of John Sillifant, sen., Esq.; after which, The Chairman gave the health of R. H. Tuckfield, Esq., and John Hippesley, Esq., which were received with enthusiastic cheers. Mr. Hippesley was, we are sorry to add, prevented by illness from being present on this interesting occasion. The Ladies, and many other appropriate toasts then followed, and the conviviality of the proceedings kept up to a late hour.

[Ed.: The reporters on the Exeter Flying Post in 1838 were exceedingly wordy but I did not want to cut anything out as it gives a good flavour of the times.]